forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Wed Jan 26, 2000  2:43 pm
Subject:  Re: Is SignWriting like the IPA?

> The IPA only has symbols for human speech sounds, including such
>oddities (in the sense that they are rarely found) as the "clicks" of Xhosa,
>Zulu, and a few other languages of southern Africa. I am sure, however,
>that there is no IPA symbol for an anal spirant, e.g. - Wayne


SignWriting List
January 26, 2000

Hi Wayne - Thanks for the information....

So does the IPA record tonal languages in the East? For example,
could it record Chinese?

Meanwhile, a linguist just sent me this information about the IPA,
which is very interesting:

"The IPA could be used to write spoken languages on a daily basis and many of
its symbols are from the Roman alphabet. The reason that it isn't used to
write many languages is because it was invented in 1888 and many languages
already had established writing systems. However, the IPA might be used on
a daily basis by speakers of previously unwritten languages. Linguists who
record spoken languages use the IPA (or some version related to it). So
some speakers of these languages might use the IPA if they want to write
their language. All I am saying is that the IPA might be used as the daily
writing system of some language.

The IPA cannot write music produced by musical instruments, because it is
only for human speech sounds. But the IPA can be used to write the words
and at least some of the pitches of songs (but I don't know how detailed it
can be for song pitch). I have a friend that wrote a dissertation on songs.
I can ask her if you want to know more about that.

Yes, SignWriting does have a broader range of application since it can be
used to write all human movement, whereas the IPA cannot write all human
sounds (coughing, cracking knuckles ...). The IPA can only write human
speech sounds."

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